Minn. military families get ready for returning soldiersby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
ROSEVILLE, Minn. — Hundreds of families of Minnesota National Guard members attended an event in Roseville Sunday to help them prepare for the soldiers' return.
About 2,700 Minnesota National Guard soldiers will begin returning from Iraq in late spring. The Guard held events across the state over the past few weeks to help their families prepare.
The event in Roseville included a discussion on how to reconnect with soldiers. Another class taught family members to recognize stress and identify warning signs among all members of their family.
First Lt. James Johnson and his staff organized the events. He said class leaders talked about communicating directly and clearly, especially over finances.
"A lot of it is stuff that may seem obvious but it's important to remember," Johnson said. "Communicate — ask the service member what they're going through, what they're going to expect. Open that line of communication and start it now, months before they return."
Johnson said another popular session talked about ways for service members to get to know their children again.
"[Families] are very motivated; they're excited for their service member to come home and it is inspiring to see them come," Johnson said. "They recognize there's a challenge and they have anxiety; they're nervous."